Amapondo Backpackers | Port St Johns

Amapondo Backpacker Lodge – Activities


First Beach is at the mouth of the mighty Umzimvubu River and you are advised not to swim there unless you want to rub fins with the numerous sharks seen there.

Second Beach is about 12 kilometers south of the town along a tar road. It is an idyllic bathing beach – very safe for swimming as it has a very gentle slope. There is a full life-guard contingent as well.

Third Beach is only accessible with a permit and is composed mainly of rocks and rock pools

Amapondo Backpackers Lodge are situated at second beach, amidst the tranquil setting of the rain forest, Second Beach allows guests to feel like they are truly in the wild and rugged African coastline.



With thousands of bathers expected to flock to the notorious but popular Second Beach, Port St Johns authorities have announced that motorists will not be allowed to park at the beach over the height of the festive season.

Boom gates will also be set up at various points about the town, warning that those who park illegally at the beach will have their cars towed away.

You will not be able to leave Amapondo backpackers on the 01 January due to road closure – no CHECK-IN or -OUT on the 1 January 2021.


HIKES – There are numerous hikes available. From easy to challenging.

From 1 hour to 6 day hikes to Coffee Bay

Below are only a few of the local hikes close to Amapondo backpackers lodge

Hikes can be done solo, or of you want a guided hike, please advise reception in advance to arrange a tour guided hike.

Bulolo Waterfall

Adventure hike through dense a jungle path to Bulolo Waterfall.  This croute takes about 3 hours there and back.  One of our most popular activities, the hike to Bulolo is totally awesome.  In parts it can be a bit challenging, and it is for the more adventurous.

We hope you do not chicken out of the 11m jump into the deep pool below the Waterfall.


The Gap and Blow hole

Hike up into the cultural village of Mthumbane along a stunning coastal path.

From here, hike down to the Gap, climb down some rocks using a rope, then down an impressively long ladder, and into ‘The Gap’.  Traverse this impressive coastal peninsula and shimmy up another ladder onto a great viewpoint.  From here you can see the Blowhole, where powerful waves crash against the rocks, the water that erupts out of the hole can be incredibly powerful

At the top, the views are screensaver perfect, and if you are lucky, you might even see a whale or a pod of dolphins.

This hike takes about 2 – 3 hours.


 Silaka Nature Reserve

Silaka Nature Reserve is a coastal reserve nestled in a valley between Second Beach and Sugarloaf Rock. The habitat sustains a wide variety of bird life such as the Knysna loerie, rare Cape parrot, grey cuckooshrike, and cinnamon dove. The forest is also home to blue duiker, zebra, and bushbuck, and leads to a rocky shoreline and beach at the mouth of the Gxwaleni River.

An adventure hike along narrow coastal paths to Silaka Nature Reserve. Silaka boasts a diversity of indigenous fauna and flora.  Hike through the dense wild coastline, spot the vervet monkeys in the trees, laugh at the awkward hornbills flying clumsily, and marvel at the impressive Fish Eagles hunting high in the sky.

After about an hour you will arrive at Silaka’s very own private beach.  Leap into the water at Bird Rock.

This coastal hike takes about 3 – 4 hours there and back


Bird’s Nest / Airstrip

Hiking up the old Airstrip.

A beautiful hike through our indigenous forest, up to the airstrip, which has the best view of the town, ocean and landscapes around Port St Johns.

This is an average skill hike, and takes about three hours to finish

Do not forget a warm jacket – even in the summer it can get chilly up here.

The cliffs up here are famous for being the place where Blood Diamond, the blockbuster film with Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed.


M’bashe lighthouse

The M’bashe lighthouse lies on the wild coast, part way between East London and Port St Johns and just down the road from a little holiday resort that has been there for decades, known as The Haven

It was back in 1890 that the Cape Colonial Lighthouse Commission originally recommended putting up a few beacons on the coast east of Port Alfred. And a beacon was finally erected on a hilltop just west of the present lighthouse at M’bashe in 1892.

Known as M’bashe lighthouse, it remained standing until it was demolished in 1944, although a few remains are still evident on the road that takes one to The Haven. Today’s lighthouse is a lattice steel structure roughly 250 metres away from the original lightkeeper’s house. It converted to electric power in 1962, but the original tower is still in use, its little red dome a beacon of colour against the blue of the sky.

It was an isolated post for a lightkeeper particularly as the nearest town was Umtata, even if a bus operated between Bityi station and the lighthouse twice a week to bring provisions. Post came to the families stationed here from Elliotdale, a little village about 40 kilometres away. With independence in 1976 Transkei replaced the solitary lightkeeper with one of their own.

This part of the coast was particularly popular with fishermen as there was some good kob to be caught, particularly off the rocks in the vicinity of the lighthouse. However around The Haven is now a Marine Protected Area and no fishing is allowed. The Mbashe River, so popular with fishermen, separates two little nature reserves – the Dwesa and Cwebe.


Ferry Point, Long Beach and Agate terrace hike

Agate Terrace is halfway between the river mouth and where the beach ends abruptly in a very steep bluff. The path from here leads to the top and along the hills to another splendid beach and excellent rock fishing can be had. This is Poenskop, which means, in Afrikaans, a hornless cow’s head. Along these Wild Coast hills one finds Native life as primitive as is possible to see, and the view of the ocean is breathtaking.

The distance from Port St John’s is about 10 kms and should not be attempted by those who are not strong and energetic. It is advisable to take food and water on this walk.



Every year southern right whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to warmer climates, reaching South Africa in June. The coastal waters teem with the giant animals, mating, calving and rearing their young – and giving whale-watchers spectacular displays of raw power and elegant water acrobatics.



Please advise reception in WELL (2 days) in advance to arrange a BOAT TRIP

Experience the thrill of a launch through the waves out of the Umzimvubu River Mouth into the Indian Ocean. Ocean trips range from 2 hours to full day and include trips to Brazen head or Waterfall Bluff.



Rock, surf, deep sea and river fishing – remember to get a fishing licence from post office

Fishing can be done solo, or of you want a guided fishing experiences, please advise reception WELL (2 days) in advance to arrange one of the local fisherman to guide you on your fishing trip.



Please advise reception WELL (2days) in advance to arrange a RIVER CRUISE

The most popular trip is the afternoon sundowner trip that departs at 4pm in summer (September – April) and 3pm in winter (May – August). Trip duration is approximately 2 – 3 hours, depending on how much fun you are having.



Please advise reception in WELL advance to arrange a RIVER CANOEING